Mourneabbey had an impressive 14-point win over Ballymacarbry in the Munster Ladies SFC final.
Mourneabbey (Cork) 3-19 Ballymacarbry (Waterford) 0-14
Mourneabbey had the excuses on hand if they wanted to accept them. A third game inside eight days, for starters, with the added baggage of injury worries.
And if they did lose Saturday’s Munster final, there would still have been the matter of last Wednesday’s county title to celebrate – but it wouldn’t have been the same.
That thought of souring the County celebrations with a Munster failure was inconceivable and captain Roisin O’Sullivan, who played through injury, stressed that their mental outlook trumped the physical strain.
“When it comes to this stage, after so many matches, a lot of it is mental. You have to forget about having three matches in one week and just know that you have it in your legs.
“I hurt my quad on Wednesday. It was sore but mentally you have to get over those things. We knew if we didn’t win we’d be kicking ourselves. You can’t go back to Wednesday and try to celebrate that victory – we really wanted to make it a double and really celebrate.”
At the halfway mark Ballymacarbry, headlined by half of Waterford’s All-Ireland IFC winning team, trailed by the minimum, 0-9 to 0-8.
But Mourneabbey, who relied on Doireann O’Sullivan early on, were relentless thereafter.
The Cork champions scored the opening four points after the restart, with Ciara O’Sullivan, liberated by a role further out the field, involved in each score.
Both sides had spurned goal chances in the first-half and that trend continued when Meabh O’Sullivan made a fingertip save from Michelle Ryan.
However Laura Fitzgerald, who had been denied by a pair of goal-line blocks early on, got the decisive green flag at the third attempt, after a superbly delayed pass from birthday girl Brid O’Sullivan.
That 46th-minute goal gave Mourneabbey an eight-point buffer, which was protected by another flying save by Meabh O’Sullivan, this time stopping Shauna Ryan. That would be Ballymac’s last chance to shear the deficit, although, led by Sinead Ryan, they did battle on.
However a 56th-minute turnover at one end resulted in a Ciara O’Sullivan goal at the other.
Then Aisling O’Sullivan created another defence-to-attack goal three minutes later, with Katryn Coakley finishing off Mourneabbey’s turbulent week by sealing a sweet Munster double.
Scorers for Mourneabbey: C O’Sullivan (1-6); D O’Sullivan (0-7, 6 frees); L Fitzgerald (1-2); K Coakley (1-0); N O’Sullivan (0-2); E Harrington, B O’Sullivan (0-1 each).
Scorers for Ballymacarbry: Sinead Ryan (0-8, 5 frees); A Wall (0-2); Marian Ryan, Shauna Ryan, Michelle Ryan, E Cooney (0-1 each).
MOURNEABBEY: M O’Sullivan; CA Stack, A O’Sullivan, E Meaney; K Healy, R O’Sullivan, E Coakley; M O’Callaghan, N O’Sullivan; S O’Callaghan, B O’Sullivan, E Harrington; D O’Sullivan, L Fitzgerald, C O’Sullivan.
Subs: E Forde for Stack (blood, 38-40), Forde for Healy (44), K Coakley for Fitzgerald (54), E Browne for E Coakley, L Crowley for Harrington (both 60).
BALLYMACARBRY: L Fitzpatrick; B Hogan, M McGrath, T McGrath; L Mulcahy, K McGrath, M Wall; L Ryan, L Wall; D Hallahan, E Cooney, Marian Ryan; A Wall, Sinead Ryan, Michelle Ryan.
Subs: Shauna Ryan for Hogan (ht), L Guiry for Hallahan (53), B Desmond for Marian Ryan (61).
Referee: K Delahunty (Tipperary)
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